Current Affairs – 16-04-2019

World’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue

In news:

  • Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels.

In brief:

  • It marked the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells,
    blood vessels, ventricles and chambers.
  • Earlier scientists have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels.
    The heart produced by researchers is about the size of a rabbit’s heart.
  • The cells are currently able to contract, but do not yet have the ability to pump.Then they plan to transplant them
    into animal models, hopefully in about a year.

Importance of 3D heart printing:

  • Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of death, according to the World Health
    Organization, and transplants are currently the only option available for patients in the worst
    cases.
  • But the number of donors is limited and many die while waiting.
  • When they do benefit, they can fall victim to their bodies rejecting the transplant — a problem the researchers are seeking to
    overcome.
  • Research involved taking a biopsy of fatty tissue from patients that was used in the development of the “ink” for the 3D print.
    Current 3D printers are also limited by the size of their resolution and another challenge will be figuring out how to print all small blood vessels.
    Researchers at the University of Toronto are working on using such technology to print skin over wounds, and the University of Minnesota
    has developed a transparent mouse skull that helps its researchers to better understand brain activity.

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